COOKEVILLE, Tenn. — The 2011 Ohio Valley Conference soccer season begins this week, and thanks to a 2-1 victory over Lipscomb Sunday, Tennessee Tech heads into league play with confidence and momentum.
The Golden Eagles open OVC play on the road, playing at Eastern Illinois on Friday at 3:30 p.m. before squaring off against SIU Edwardsville on Sunday at 1 p.m.
SIU Edwardsville is playing its first season as a full member of the OVC.
Tech will enter Friday's match on the heels of a 2-1 victory over Lipscomb Sunday in its first home match after a seven-game swing away from Tech Soccer Field.
"We needed that confidence boost as a team," said head coach Daniel Brizard. "I think we've played well, I just think sometimes the result hasn't gone our way. To actually get the result in terms of playing well and in front of a fantastic home crowd, hopefully it will give us some momentum we can take into this weekend."
Though Brizard would have liked to have seen his squad take better advantage of its 23 shot opportunities against Lipscomb, he views the win as a step in the right direction toward how he would like the Golden Eagles to play down the stretch.
"We didn't have a great shooting percentage, but the fact that we were getting shots on frame and toward the frame was a step up from our previous couple of games," he said. "Defensively, it was a great game for our team. They weren't worn out because our attack could possess the ball more. We're doing what we need to do defensively, but when we don't have the attack in front of us, something is going to get through at some point."
Tech enters conference play with a 3-6-1 overall record, a mark that places them sixth out of 10 teams in the OVC standings.
-Walk-on freshman Amanda Koch notched her first career assist in Sunday's win over Lipscomb. Koch has started three matches and is averaging 33 minutes per game.
"Amanda doesn't come from the strongest soccer background where she is from, but she makes up for it with sheer persistence and will to be the best player she can be," Brizard said. "She has been a big lift for us this year."
- The Golden Eagles have now gotten goals from eight different players this season after Andrea Meloff scored her first of the year against Lipscomb.
- Sophomore goalkeeper Becca Toler ranks 15th in NCAA Division I in goalkeeper minutes. Toler has played 928 minutes this season and has yet to come out of a game. Senior defender Lindsey Reed has also played 928 minutes.
- Tech is 8-5-2 all-time in OVC openers.
SCOUTING EASTERN ILLINOIS
-Eastern Illinois is 1-6-2 this season with a 1-2 home record. Most recently, the Panthers fell 2-0 to Akron on Sept. 17.
-EIU and TTU have faced one common opponent in Belmont. Tech fell to the Bruins 3-1 on Aug. 21 while Belmont defeated the Panthers 1-0 on Aug. 26.
-Eastern Illinois leads the all-time series against Tech 13-3-3. The last meeting ended in a 1-1 tie on Oct. 17, 2010, in Cookeville. Sarah Gawthrop provided the goal for the Golden Eagles.
-EIU is scoring 0.67 goals per game this season while opponents are managing 1.67 scores against the Panthers.
-Kristin Germann leads Eastern Illinois offensively. The junior from Carbondale, Ill., has scored four goals and assisted on another. Goalkeeper Jessica Taldone has started six of nine games and has notched 47 saves while allowing 11 goals.
SCOUTING SIU EDWARDSVILLE
-SIU Edwardsville is 2-2-1 this season with an 0-2 home record. Most recently, the Cougars played St. Louis to a 0-0 tie on Sept. 18.
-SIUE leads the all-time series against Tech 1-0. In the only meeting between the two schools, the Cougars took a 1-0 victory on Sept. 25, 2008 in Cookeville.
-The Cougars are scoring an average of 1.67 goals per game this season while surrendering 2.00 goals per game.
-Devon Thomas is SIUE's points leader with seven on the year. The senior from Brookfield, Ill., has scored two goals and distributed three assists. Goalkeeper Claire Lovercheck has started five of six games and has accumulated 16 saves while allowing six goals.